February 11, 2011

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), the UK’s Home Office appointed independent advisory body on immigration issues, has published its report identifying occupations which should still qualify for Tier 2 of the UK’s Points Based System.  This report was commissioned by the UK government following its announcement last year that the minimum skills level for Tier 2 visas should be “graduate level”.

What Does “Graduate Level” Mean? 

The UK government asked the MAC to use the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level 4 and above as the relevant benchmark. Most university Bachelor’s degrees are equivalent to NQF Level 4. Previously, the minimum skill level was NQF Level 3, which is equivalent to the UK A-Level.

What Are The MAC Recommendations? 

The MAC report reduces the number of occupations qualifying for Tier 2 visas by 71, down from 192 to 121.  The occupations no longer eligible include:

  • Leisure & sports managers
  • Quality assurance technicians
  • IT user support technicians
  • Graphic designers
  • Legal associate professionals
  • Insurance underwriters
  • Importers, exporters
  • Sales representatives
  • Personnel and industrial relations officers

What Happens Next? 

The UK government will consider the MAC recommendations and decide whether to incorporate these into the rules of Tier 2 of the Points Based System.  Pro-Link GLOBAL expects an announcement by April 2011.

These changes are part of an extensive re-work of the UK’s Points Based System, which includes the closure of Tier 1 (General) Overseas and the introduction of quotas for Tier 2 (Tier 2 Intra Company Transfers will be quota exempt if the employee is paid over £40,000GBP/year for those coming longer than 12 months or £24,000GBP/year for those coming for less than 12 months).  For more information, please visit the Resources section of the Pro-Link GLOBAL website to read our previous GLOBAL Briefs on the UK.

ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS
  • Remind your colleagues of the miminum salary requirements;
  • Be aware of the potential removal of Tier 2 qualifying occupations. Pro-Link GLOBAL will keep our clients informed.

Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader 

This content is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or final guidance for any immigration matter. Readers are reminded that a country’s immigration laws and requirements may change with little to no advance public notice. Questions regarding specific immigration matters should be addressed to your Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist.